With the growing business hype surrounding Metaverse technology, Accenture is the latest consulting firm to make its entry into the burgeoning market. The company has built its own consulting arm, advising clients on their presence in the metaverse and adjusting their technology accordingly.
JP Morgan was the first bank to establish a presence in the metaverse in February 2022, eyeing a $1 trillion “virtual real estate” market opportunity, while many other financial services firms have indicated signs of joining the firm. As more users enter the Metaverse—and attempt to amass “virtual real estate”—they expect a chance to capitalize on the on-platform lending that facilitates this activity. Recent sales for Sandbox, for example, have resulted in “undeveloped” LAND costing around $10,000, according to blockchain data – and a piece of virtual land in the metaverse was reportedly sold for $4.3 million in November 2021, making it so lending on such transactions could bring new revenue for banks currently struggling to grow revenue.
And as is the case with any market, when companies want to make money from it, consultants will certainly offer services to advise them on how to do so more successfully. Around the turn of the year, PwC built a Web 3.0 Advisory Center to enable a new generation of professional services, including accounting and tax, in the metaverse. Now Accenture has unveiled plans to similarly adapt its services to the growing market.
Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology Officer at Accenture, said: “The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far larger than what we have seen before and transforming the way in which we all live and work… our vision of the metaverse as a continuum challenges prevailing, narrower views and highlights why businesses need to act today or find themselves in worlds designed by and for someone else.”
The new Accenture Metaverse Continuum group of companies will be led by Daugherty and David Droga, former founder of Draga5 and currently CEO and Creative Chairman of Accenture Interactive. According to Droga, Accenture is already recognized as a leading provider of metaverse-related capabilities. The company has registered 600 patents in this sector and has more than a decade of experience in developing technologies.
He added, “Our new business group combines these capabilities with the creative strengths of Accenture Interactive, with teams of innovators and developers bringing new applications to the metaverse’s decentralized environment.”
In recent years – before and during the pandemic – Accenture has invested in digitizing its own onboarding experience; especially in relation to the use of VR and AR in education. To this end, Accenture operates its own metaverse called the Nth Floor, where the company’s employees participate in new hire orientation and deep learning, or meet and socialize as teams. By the end of the current fiscal year, the company expects that 150,000 or more new employees will have their first day of work in this metaverse.
Daugherty believes this is just the beginning — for Accenture and for the wider economy. A recent study by Accenture, covering 23 industries in 35 countries, found that even in the early stages of Metaverse development, 71% of executives believe it will have a positive impact on their organization and 42% believe they will make a difference breakthrough or transformation.
To that end, he concluded: “As the line between people’s physical and digital lives continues to blur, organizations have both an opportunity and an obligation now to build a responsible metaverse – addressing issues such as trust, sustainability, personal safety, privacy, responsible access and use, diversity and more. The actions and decisions they make today will set the course for the future.”
Explanation of the metaverse
A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connections. For years, a term associated primarily with science fiction was long thought of as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet – with the global network eventually manifesting a single, universal virtual world.
The idea has gained particular prominence over the past year thanks to Facebook’s rebranding as Meta — a Metaverse company. As the world’s social media and digital companies reach the point where there is little room to expand their followings – and it was this exponential growth that made their meteoric rise possible in the first place – they are turning to the concept of metaverse as a silver bullet where they can find new ways to capitalize on social digital infrastructure delivery.
With large corporations already pouring even larger sums into the project, the metaverse is increasingly seen as a turning point in the privatization of social interactions. With the use of mechanisms like blockchain and NFTs, users are forced to spend money to buy into interactive spaces like the sandbox metaverse, where their interactions are recorded as “transactions” in a permanent and publicly accessible ledger. Regardless of the security and privacy concerns this has fueled, many companies see it as a great opportunity to generate new revenue streams.